| Real Analysis in Reverse - James Propp Many of the theorems of real analysis, against the background of the ordered field axioms, are equivalent to Dedekind completeness, and hence can serve as completeness axioms for the reals. In the course of demonstrating this, the article offers a tour of some less-familiar ordered fields, provides some of the relevant history, and considers pedagogical implications. Downloads: 9 | |

| The many faces of alternating-sign matrices - James Propp I give a survey of different combinatorial forms of alternating-sign matrices, starting with the original form introduced by Mills, Robbins and Rumsey as well as corner-sum matrices, height-function matrices, three-colorings, monotone triangles, tetrahedral order ideals, square ice, gasket-and-basket tilings and full packings of loops. Downloads: 8 | |

| Generating Random Elements of Finite Distributive Lattices - James Propp This survey article describes a method for choosing uniformly at random from any finite set whose objects can be viewed as constituting a distributive lattice. The method is based on ideas of the author and David Wilson for using ``coupling from the past'' to remove initialization bias from Monte Carlo randomization. The article describes several applications to specific kinds of combinatorial objects such as tilings, constrained lattice paths, and alternating-sign matrices. Downloads: 3 | |

| Discrete analogue computing with rotor-routers - James Propp Rotor-routing is a procedure for routing tokens through a network that can implement certain kinds of computation. These computations are inherently asynchronous (the order in which tokens are routed makes no difference) and distributed (information is spread throughout the system). It is also possible to efficiently check that a computation has been carried out correctly in less time than the computation itself required, provided one has a certificate that can itself be computed by the rotor-ro... Downloads: 327 | |

| A reciprocity theorem for domino tilings - James Propp Let T(m,n) denote the number of ways to tile an m-by-n rectangle with dominos. For any fixed m, the numbers T(m,n) satisfy a linear recurrence relation, and so may be extrapolated to negative values of n; these extrapolated values satisfy the relation T(m,-2-n) = epsilon_{m,n} T(m,n), where epsilon_{m,n} is -1 if m is congruent to 2 (mod 4) and n is odd, and is +1 is otherwise. This is equivalent to a fact demonstrated by Stanley using algebraic methods... Downloads: 16 | |

| Enumeration of Matchings: Problems and Progress - James Propp This document is built around a list of thirty-two problems in enumeration of matchings, the first twenty of which were presented in a lecture at MSRI in the fall of 1996. I begin with a capsule history of the topic of enumeration of matchings. The twenty original problems, with commentary, comprise the bulk of the article. I give an account of the progress that has been made on these problems as of this writing, and include pointers to both the printed and on-line literature; roughly half of th... Downloads: 32 | |

| The combinatorics of frieze patterns and Markoff numbers - James Propp This article, based on joint work with Gabriel Carroll, Andy Itsara, Ian Le, Gregg Musiker, Gregory Price, Dylan Thurston, and Rui Viana, presents a combinatorial model based on perfect matchings that explains the symmetries of the numerical arrays that Conway and Coxeter dubbed frieze patterns. This matchings model is a combinatorial interpretation of Fomin and Zelevinsky's cluster algebras of type A... Downloads: 5 | |

| Euler measure as generalized cardinality - James Propp Schanuel has pointed out that there are mathematically interesting categories whose relationship to the ring of integers is analogous to the relationship between the category of finite sets and the semi-ring of non-negative integers. Such categories are inherently geometrical or topological, in that the mapping to the ring of integers is a variant of Euler characteristic. In these notes, I sketch some ideas that might be used in further development of a theory along lines suggested by Schanuel. Downloads: 4 | |

| Lattice structure for orientations of graphs - James Propp Earlier researchers have studied the set of orientations of a connected finite graph $G$, and have shown that any two such orientations having the same flow-difference around all closed loops can be obtained from one another by a succession of local moves of a simple type. Here I show that the set of orientations of $G$ having the same flow-differences around all closed loops can be given the structure of a distributive lattice... Downloads: 5 | |

| Generalized domino-shuffling - James Propp The problem of counting tilings of a plane region using specified tiles can often be recast as the problem of counting (perfect) matchings of some subgraph of an Aztec diamond graph A_n, or more generally calculating the sum of the weights of all the matchings, where the weight of a matching is equal to the product of the (pre-assigned) weights of the constituent edges (assumed to be non-negative)... Downloads: 7 | |

| Twenty Open Problems in Enumeration of Matchings - James Propp This document is an exposition of an assortment of open problems arising from the exact enumeration of (perfect) matchings of finite graphs. Roughly half have been solved at the time of this writing; see the document "Twenty Open Problems in Enumeration of Matchings: Progress Report" (also available from this server as math.CO/9801061). NOTE: This article has now been superseded by math.CO/9904150. Downloads: 8 | |

| Twenty Open Problems in Enumeration of Matchings: Progress Report - James Propp This document is a brief summary of progress that has been made on the problems posed in the document "Twenty Open Problems in Enumeration of Matchings" (also available from this server as math.CO/9801060). NOTE: This article has now been superseded by math.CO/9904150. Downloads: 10 | |

| Lambda-determinants and domino-tilings - James Propp Consider the $2n$-by-$2n$ matrix $M=(m_{i,j})_{i,j=1}^{2n}$ with $m_{i,j} = 1$ for $i,j$ satisfying $|2i-2n-1|+|2j-2n-1| \leq 2n$ and $m_{i,j} = 0$ for all other $i,j$, consisting of a central diamond of 1's surrounded by 0's. When $n \geq 4$, the $\lambda$-determinant of the matrix $M$ (as introduced by Robbins and Rumsey) is not well-defined. However, if we replace the 0's by $t$'s, we get a matrix whose $\lambda$-determinant is well-defined and is a polynomial in $\lambda$ and $t$... Downloads: 25 | |

| Exponentiation and Euler measure - James Propp Two of the pillars of combinatorics are the notion of choosing an arbitrary subset of a set with $n$ elements (which can be done in $2^n$ ways), and the notion of choosing a $k$-element subset of a set with $n$ elements (which can be done in $n \choose k$ ways). In this article I sketch the beginnings of a theory that would import these notions into the category of hedral sets in the sense of Morelli and the category of polyhedral sets in the sense of Schanuel... Downloads: 21 | |

| Three-player impartial games - James Propp Past efforts to classify impartial three-player combinatorial games (the theories of Li and Straffin) have made various restrictive assumptions about the rationality of one's opponents and the formation and behavior of coalitions. One may instead adopt an agnostic attitude towards such issues, and seek only to understand in what circumstances one player has a winning strategy against the combined forces of the other two... Downloads: 10 | |

| Combinatorial interpretations for rank-two cluster algebras of affine type - Gregg Musiker Fomin and Zelevinsky show that a certain two-parameter family of rational recurrence relations, here called the (b,c) family, possesses the Laurentness property: for all b,c, each term of the (b,c) sequence can be expressed as a Laurent polynomial in the two initial terms. In the case where the positive integers b,c satisfy bc4, the recurrence is related to Kac-Moody rank 2 Lie algebras of hyperbolic type... Downloads: 3 | |

| Degree-growth of monomial maps - Boris Hasselblatt For projectivizations of rational maps Bellon and Viallet defined the notion of algebraic entropy using the exponential growth rate of the degrees of iterates. We want to call this notion to the attention of dynamicists by computing algebraic entropy for certain rational maps of projective spaces (Theorem 6.2) and comparing it with topological entropy (Theorem 5.1). The particular rational maps we study are monomial maps (Definition 1.2), which are closely related to toral endomorphisms... Downloads: 10 | |

| Domino tilings with barriers - James Propp In this paper, we continue the study of domino-tilings of Aztec diamonds. In particular, we look at certain ways of placing ``barriers'' in the Aztec diamond, with the constraint that no domino may cross a barrier. Remarkably, the number of constrained tilings is independent of the placement of the barriers. We do not know of a combinatorial explanation of this fact; our proof uses the Jacobi-Trudi identity. Downloads: 7 | |

| Rotor Walks and Markov Chains - Alexander E. Holroyd The rotor walk is a derandomized version of the random walk on a graph. On successive visits to any given vertex, the walker is routed to each of the neighboring vertices in some fixed cyclic order, rather than to a random sequence of neighbors. The concept generalizes naturally to Markov chains on a countable state space. Subject to general conditions, we prove that many natural quantities associated with the rotor walk (including normalized hitting frequencies, hitting times and occupation fre... Downloads: 3 | |

| Generating a random sink-free orientation in quadratic time - Henry Cohn A sink-free orientation of a finite undirected graph is a choice of orientation for each edge such that every vertex has out-degree at least 1. Bubley and Dyer (1997) use Markov Chain Monte Carlo to sample approximately from the uniform distribution on sink-free orientations in time O(m^3 log (1/epsilon)), where m is the number of edges and epsilon the degree of approximation. Huber (1998) uses coupling from the past to obtain an exact sample in time O(m^4)... Downloads: 3 | |

| Random Domino Tilings and the Arctic Circle Theorem - William Jockusch In this article we study domino tilings of a family of finite regions called Aztec diamonds. Every such tiling determines a partition of the Aztec diamond into five sub-regions; in the four outer sub-regions, every tile lines up with nearby tiles, while in the fifth, central sub-region, differently-oriented tiles co-exist side by side. We show that when n is sufficiently large, the shape of the central sub-region becomes arbitrarily close to a perfect circle of radius n/sqrt(2) for all but a neg... Downloads: 3 | |

| The shape of a typical boxed plane partition - Henry Cohn Using a calculus of variations approach, we determine the shape of a typical plane partition in a large box (i.e., a plane partition chosen at random according to the uniform distribution on all plane partitions whose solid Young diagrams fit inside the box). Equivalently, we describe the distribution of the three different orientations of lozenges in a random lozenge tiling of a large hexagon. We prove a generalization of the classical formula of MacMahon for the number of plane partitions in a... Downloads: 5 | |

| A variational principle for domino tilings - Henry Cohn We formulate and prove a variational principle (in the sense of thermodynamics) for random domino tilings, or equivalently for the dimer model on a square grid. This principle states that a typical tiling of an arbitrary finite region can be described by a function that maximizes an entropy integral. We associate an entropy to every sort of local behavior domino tilings can exhibit, and prove that almost all tilings lie within epsilon (for an appropriate metric) of the unique entropy-maximizing ... Downloads: 6 | |

| Tiling Lattices with Sublattices, I - David Feldman We use Fourier methods to prove that if $n > 1$ translates of sublattices of $Z^d$ tile $Z^d$, and all the sublattices are Cartesian products of arithmetic progressions, then two of the tiles must be translates of each other. This is a multi-dimensional generalization of the Mirsky-Newman Theorem. Downloads: 4 | |

| Local statistics for random domino tilings of the Aztec diamond - Henry Cohn We prove an asymptotic formula for the probability that, if one chooses a domino tiling of a large Aztec diamond at random according to the uniform distribution on such tilings, the tiling will contain a domino covering a given pair of adjacent lattice squares. This formula quantifies the effect of the diamond's boundary conditions on the behavior of typical tilings; in addition, it yields a new proof of the arctic circle theorem of Jockusch, Propp, and Shor... Downloads: 5 | |

| Topological entropy for non-uniformly continuous maps - Boris Hasselblatt The topological entropy of a continuous self-map of a compact metric space can be defined in several distinct ways; when the space is not assumed compact, these definitions can lead to distinct invariants. The original, purely topological invariant defined by Adler et. al. is infinite if the system has at least one orbit with empty limit set. The Bowen-Dinaburg formulation (based on separated sets) is equivalent to the invariant defined by Friedland (based on a compactification of the inverse li... Downloads: 11 | |

| Perfect matchings for the three-term Gale-Robinson sequences - Mireille Bousquet-Mélou In 1991, David Gale and Raphael Robinson, building on explorations carried out by Michael Somos in the 1980s, introduced a three-parameter family of rational recurrence relations, each of which (with suitable initial conditions) appeared to give rise to a sequence of integers, even though a priori the recurrence might produce non-integral rational numbers. Throughout the '90s, proofs of integrality were known only for individual special cases... Downloads: 13 | |

| Tiling Lattices with Sublattices, II - David Feldman Our earlier article proved that if $n > 1$ translates of sublattices of $Z^d$ tile $Z^d$, and all the sublattices are Cartesian products of arithmetic progressions, then two of the tiles must be translates of each other. We re-prove this Theorem, this time using generating functions. We also show that for $d \geq 1$, not every finite tiling of $Z^d$ by lattices can be obtained from the trivial tiling by the process of repeatedly subdividing a tile into sub-tiles that are translates of one anothe... Downloads: 14 | |

| Further travels with my ant - David Gale We discuss some properties of a class of cellular automata sometimes called a "generalized ant". This system is perhaps most easily understood by thinking of an ant which moves about a lattice in the plane. At each vertex (or "cell"), the ant turns right or left, depending on the the state of the cell, and then changes the state of the cell according to certain prescribed rule strings. (This system has been the subject of several Mathematical Entertainments columns in the Mathematical Intelligen... Downloads: 3 | |

| Alternating sign matrices and domino tilings - Noam Elkies We introduce a family of planar regions, called Aztec diamonds, and study the ways in which these regions can be tiled by dominoes. Our main result is a generating function that not only gives the number of domino tilings of the Aztec diamond of order $n$ but also provides information about the orientation of the dominoes (vertical versus horizontal) and the accessibility of one tiling from another by means of local modifications... Downloads: 6 | |

| Equivalence Classes of Permutations under Various Relations Generated by Constrained Transpositions - Steven Linton We consider a large family of equivalence relations on permutations in Sn that generalise those discovered by Knuth in his study of the Robinson-Schensted correspondence. In our most general setting, two permutations are equivalent if one can be obtained from the other by a sequence of pattern-replacing moves of prescribed form; however, we limit our focus to patterns where two elements are transposed, subject to the constraint that a third element of a suitable type be in a suitable position... Downloads: 18 | |

| Local-to-global principles for rotor walk - Giuliano Pezzolo Giacaglia In rotor walk on a finite directed graph, the exits from each vertex follow a prescribed periodic sequence. Here we consider the case of rotor walk where a particle starts from a designated source vertex and continues until it hits a designated target set, at which point the walk is restarted from the source. We show that the sequence of successively hit targets, which is easily seen to be eventually periodic, is in fact periodic... Downloads: 21 | |

| Discrete low-discrepancy sequences - Omer Angel Holroyd and Propp used Hall's marriage theorem to show that, given a probability distribution pi on a finite set S, there exists an infinite sequence s_1,s_2,... in S such that for all integers k >= 1 and all s in S, the number of i in [1,k] with s_i = s differs from k pi(s) by at most 1. We prove a generalization of this result using a simple explicit algorithm. A special case of this algorithm yields an extension of Holroyd and Propp's result to the case of discrete probability distributions o... Downloads: 5 | |

| Chip-Firing and Rotor-Routing on Directed Graphs - Alexander E. Holroyd We give a rigorous and self-contained survey of the abelian sandpile model and rotor-router model on finite directed graphs, highlighting the connections between them. We present several intriguing open problems. Downloads: 12 | |